Creating a list of the Top 10 Essential Original Rock Christmas Songs is a rather difficult task due to enormous amount of recordings released over the past fifty years. So we have narrowed down the list to include only truly original rock and roll compositions performed by rock artists. We have tried to create a list that presents some variation, and it is in no way a definite statement of the 10 best Christmas songs, but rather a presentation of some of the best rock and roll Christmas songs from various rock and roll genres. But there are rules…..The songs cannot be variations or interpretations of classic Christmas songs written over the past two hundred years. The songs had to be either very original or at least had made an impact on popular culture. And most importantly, they simply had to be great songs.
We also wanted to create a list of songs that made us feel good. This is a list about Rock and Roll Christmas songs that make you feel good. So, if we were going to make a Christmas CD to help lift our spirits into the realms of holiday cheer, these would be the songs burnt to that CD.
# 10 – The Ravers – (Its Gonna Be a) Punk Rock Christmas
No better way to start a Top 10 Best Original Rock Christmas list than with an all-time classic punk rock song. Every great punk song makes fun of the Queen and this one was no exception. The highlight of the song features Santa asking a crazy punk rocker what he wants for Christmas. Totally hysterical and just a perfect choice to start out this list.
# 9 – Bobby Helms – Jingle Bell Rock
The legendary Christmas song, “Jingle Bell Rock,” was one of the first all original Rock Christmas Songs. The song was recorded by Bobby Helms in 1957. The song was written by Joseph Carleton Beal and James Ross Boothe. It’s a great deal of fun to play back to back the songs “Jingle Bell Rock,” and “It’s Gonna Be A Punk Rock Christmas.” An interesting representation of the range of Rock and Roll and how such stylistic diversity can still deliver the same message.
# 8 – The Killers – A Great Big Sled
The Killers’ Christmas song “A Great Big Sled,” is probably the most modern sounding Christmas song to appear on this list. The song was released in December of 2006. The song featured that great big Killer sound that just worked so well in the face of the momentous subject nature of Christmas.
# 7 – The Ramones – Merry Christmas, I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight
We will always take whatever chance we get to include a Ramones song in a list about popular culture. The song “I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight,” was released as a single from the 1989 Ramones album entitled Brain Drain. The title of the song pretty much explains the point of view of the recording. The song has always been a fan favorite and is significantly one of the most original Christmas songs ever written.
# 6 – The Pretenders – 2000 Miles
The Pretenders’ song 2000 Miles was released in 1983. Chrissie Hynde’s song was originally written as a tribute to former Pretenders guitarist James Honeyman Scott who had died a year earlier in 1982. Chrissie’s great vocals, and uplifting written melodic line, perfectly supported the lyrical content of hope and return which has always been one of the most significant ideas of Christmas.
# 5 – George Thorogood – Rock and Roll Christmas
George Thorogood released his classic Rock Christmas song in 1983. Like many of the best Rock Christmas Songs, the recording debut was not released on an album but rather as a single only issue. George Thorogood’s’ “Rock and Roll Christmas,” is simply the best “Party Rock and Roll Christmas Track,” we have ever heard. Just listen and watch the video, and you will see what we mean.
# 4 – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Christmas All Over Again
At the United States White House Christmas celebration in the year 2000, Tom Petty & the Heartbreaker’s delivered an amazing live performance of this great Tom Petty Christmas song, “Christmas All Over Again.” Just one listen to the Benmont Tench’s delicious piano runs and fills, Tom Petty, Mike Campbell and Scott Thurston’s guitar work backed by the amazing Howie Epstein on bass and Steve Ferrone on drums, and you will have just heard one of the best live performance of an original Rock and Roll Christmas song that has ever been performed.
# 3 – The Waitresses – Christmas Wrapping
The Waitresses Christmas song, “Christmas Wrapping,” has always been one of the most clever and original rock and roll Christmas songs ever released. Patty Donahue were the king and queen of intellectual sarcasm. Chris Butler’s witty story of Christmas despair and resolve was so perfectly delivered vocally by the immeasurable Patty Donahue. The song was first released in 1981 on a Christmas compilation album by various artists on the EZ record label. It was then eventually released on the 1982 Waitresses EP, I Could Rule the World if I Could Only Get the Parts. The song has become one of the most endearing original Rock Christmas songs loved by rock fans for over the past thirty years.
# 2 – John Lennon & Yoko On – Xmas Is Over
Not much to say about this one that not has been already said before. John Lennon’s wonderful Christmas song was released in 1972. It was a huge hit in both the United Kingdom and the United States as well as most of the rest of of the world. The song’s universal theme of peace at a time when the horrors of the Vietnam War raged on was an important voice that resonated throughout the world. For many if us, it still does.
# 1- “TIE” – Greg Lake – I Believe in Father Christmas / and Ellis Paul – Christmas Train
Landing at the No. 1 spot on the Top 10 Essential Original Rock Christmas Songs List is Ellis Paul’s “Christmas Train.” and Greg Lake’s “I Believe in Father Christmas.” We were so torn between these two magical songs we just decided to put them both in the number one spot. Two completely different artists, two completely different eras, yet somehow the two songs feel connected.
Greg Lake’s “I Believe in Father Christmas,” is just one of those magical Christmas songs that you fall in love with the first time you hear it. The song was released in 1975 and became a huge hit. The song’s beauty is in its message of forgiveness, acceptance and the love of family that is amplified during the holiday season. The song’s lyrical content, beautiful melody and heartwarming performance by Greg Lake stands as just one of those magical musical moments to treasure forever.
Ellis Paul’s “Christmas Train,” is another great rock song that defines that Christmas magic and sentiment. The song was released on Ellis Paul’s 2012 Christmas album entitled City of Silver Dreams. While the title song “City of Silver Dreams,” from the album may have been the more popular song played on radio, the real gem was Ellis Paul’s “Christmas Train.” The story of longing to go home during the holidays has always been the most consistent theme to resonate among the greatest Christmas songs ever written. Ellis Paul’s “Christmas Train,” may not rock as hard as most of the other songs on this list, but the song is just so good that it trumped all of the rock list requirements. Everything about the song is just perfect. The song’s lyrical ideas, beautiful verse melody, and deep heartfelt chorus are delivered by a virtuoso vocal performance by Ellis Paul.The harmonies and chord voicings on the chorus just essentially put the song over the top.
More essential Original Rock Christmas Songs
Elton John – Step Into Christmas
Chuck Berry – Run Rudolph Run
Bob Seger – Sock It To Me Santa
Gary Glitter – Another Rock and Roll Christmas
Paul McCartney – A Wonderful Christmas Time
Ellis Paul – City of Silver Dreams
Brenda Lee – Rockin Around the Christmas Tree
The Beach Boys – Little Saint Nick
Smashing Pumpkins – Christmas Time
The White Stripes – Candy Cane Children
Pearl Jam – Let Me Sleep (It’s Christmas Time)
Third Eye Blind – 0ne of those Christmas Days
Blink 182 – I Won’t Be Home For Christmas
Queen – Thank God It’s Christmas
Pet Shop Boys – It Doesn’t often Snow at Christmas
Mighty Mighty Bosstones – This Time of Year
Taylor Swift – Christmas Must Be Something More
The Pogues – Fairytale of New York
The Kinks – Father Christmas